Animal lovers across the country have had to keep their hugs, cuddles and helping hands to themselves over the past seven months – since the end of March – with the SPCA putting a pause on volunteering activities as per lockdown regulations.
With volunteering forming a vital part of its daily activities, however, the Cape of Good Hope SPCA says it looks promising that volunteers may return in January next year.
Belinda Abraham, the SPCA’s communications, resource development and education manager, explains: “We don’t want to put anyone in harm’s way and for that reason, our volunteering is currently restricted to our regular volunteers who play an integral part in the day-to-day operations of our SPCA.”
But, she adds, that with donor capacity dwindling and demand increasing, volunteering has never been more needed.
“We truly value the commitment of time from our volunteers who contribute in so many ways. Our volunteers are an integral part of not only maintaining high standards of animal care but also helping to carry the massive responsibility of caring and providing for between 300 to 500 animals on-site at any given time. Their contributions are invaluable in supporting staff, preventing burnout and saving costs too.”
So when the time comes next year for animal lovers to get back into it, you can assist and volunteer in the following ways:
- Kennels: Socialising and exercising dogs, cleaning cages and bathing or grooming dogs.
- Cattery: Cleaning litter trays, changing blankets and grooming cats and kittens.
- The horse care unit: Mucking out stables and paddocks and grooming horses. Some experience working with horses is a prerequisite to volunteering in this unit.
- Events: Assistance at fundraising events such as the signature walk-a-thons, Wiggle Waggle and Woefie Wandel; book sales; money counting and photography. Abraham adds: “We also need help with sorting and pricing of books for book sales and with counting the change in our collection tins that come in from various retail outlets around Cape Town.”
- Creative contributions from volunteers that relate to fundraising strategy, marketing strategy or graphic design are always needed, says Abraham.
- Maintenance: Volunteers with green fingers to assist with the SPCA’s gardens and ensure the grounds are always neat and tidy.
Before anyone can begin volunteering, they must attend one of the orientation sessions with potential volunteers to give them a better understanding of what it means to volunteer at the SPCA and enable them to make an informed decision before signing up.
“This information sharing session also helps interested parties to direct their efforts towards the department where they feel they will add the most value. Animal handling training is given to volunteers who are interested in working directly with our animals,” Abraham says.
The SPCA welcomes applications from anyone interested in serving the SPCA and its animals. And the tiny tots can get involved too, with the permission of parents and under supervision.